Trump said he was going to do it; he did it. As with nearly all the other ExecuTweet orders, this one will be a dud. The reason coal stays in the West Virginian ground is not because of all those environmental regulations, but because it’s too expensive to get out. Even if they can dig it out economically, lift the environmental regulations and the people who suffer ill health because they live next to coal-powered electricity plants will sue them, so it’s hardly going to provide certainty for that end of the business, either.
Oh, and “clean coal”. Yes, you can scrub the particulates (soot), but
C + O2 = CO2
is a fact from very elementary chemistry. It doesn’t matter how few particulates coal produces, what isn’t soot is carbon dioxide.
What’s sad about this is that the interesting and exciting challenge is not how to make coal (and oil, for that matter) pay again, but how to harness all that free energy that pours in, day after day, from the sun. That’s an area where there are lots of jobs, lots of innovation, and lots of ways of creating wealth. And I guess Trump has just opened all those opportunities to the rest of the world.
So, thank you President Trump.